To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning; Community and Local Government the number of persons employed over the past three years by the 13 approved housing agencies tier three; the amount of salary paid to these employees over the past three years; the number of new housing units completed over the past three years; the number of housing units procured and refurbished over the past three years, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

-Declan Breathnach TD
REPLY.
Under Section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992, housing authorities may provide assistance to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) for the provision and management of housing accommodation. As Minister, I am empowered to grant approved status to housing bodies for this purpose. AHBs are independent, not-for-profit organisations, which can also include housing co-operatives, which are housing organisations controlled by their members/tenants who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.

Information in relation to specific terms and conditions and number of AHB staff is not held in my Department. The appointment of personnel to AHBs, such as housing associations, is a matter for their individual Boards.  I have no role in relation to such appointments nor does my Department collate data relating to the salaries paid to staff in AHBs.

To date, there are 547 bodies with approved status. The register of AHBs can be found on my Department’s website at:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/voluntary-and-cooperative-housing/register-housing-bodies-approved-status.

In 2014, my Department established an interim Regulatory Committee for the AHB Sector under the auspices of the Housing Agency, which, supported by a Regulation Office based within the Agency, oversees implementation of the voluntary regulation code (VRC) for AHBs. At present, 245 AHBs have signed up to the VRC.

In its 2015 Annual Report and Sectoral Analysis, which is available at:

https://www.housingagency.ie/Housing/media/Media/AHB%20Regulation/Regulation-Office-2015-Annual-Report-FINAL.pdf, the Regulation Office stated that the 203 AHBs, which at that time had signed up to the VRC, had a total portfolio of 26,904 dwellings and estimated that this constituted more than 90% of the total estimated housing stock in the sector.  The final figures for the 2016 Annual Report are not yet available but are likely to show an increase of around 15% in the number of registered bodies with a proportionately smaller increase in the number of dwellings, as the newer registrations mostly comprise smaller AHBs.

Some key statistics from the Regulation Office’s Annual Report for 2015 include:

– Tier 3 AHBs (those AHBs with more than 300 units) account for 73% of regulated stock.
– Total social housing asset value of Tier 3 AHBs was €1.9bn.
– €1.7bn in capital grants have been invested by Government in Tier 3 AHBs.
– The report also provides global income and expenditure figures for Tier 3 AHBs.
– Overall, AHBs report that they employ approximately 6,500 staff. This number is significantly influenced by those AHBs whose operations are predominately care and service orientated. The Regulation Office is working with the larger service- orientated AHBs to ensure greater visibility in the split between housing and other service staffing.

Rebuilding Ireland targets the delivery of 47,000 social housing units in the period to 2021. It is estimated that AHBs have the capacity to contribute around one third of these 47,000 new social housing units using a range of delivery methods, including construction, acquisitions and leasing.

Significant progress has been made by the AHB sector over the last number of years, including the delivery of 1,169 units across both capital and leasing schemes in 2016 alone.  A strong pipeline of new social housing supply is also evident in the latest Rebuilding Ireland Social Housing Construction Status Report, which is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/social-housing-construction-projects-report-2017/ .

The Report provides details of 607 social housing schemes and 10,072 associated units at various stages of development, including 249 AHB projects, with 4,209 associated units.

More broadly, details on the number of properties constructed, purchased and leased in all local authorities areas for letting to those on social housing waiting lists are available on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.  Information relating to Q4 2016 is currently being finalised and will be published shortly.